A SUCCESSFUL website designer who had Lyme disease and depression died after accidentally taking a fatal combination of drugs, an inquest has heard.

Marc O’Brien, 45, was discovered by police on the sofa at his house in Ripley Road, Old Town, after his sister Nicola Burton, 40, raised the alarm when he failed to reply to her texts or answer her calls for two days.

The inquest in Salisbury heard that when police searched his home to see if there was any suspicious circumstances, they found packages of cocaine in his house, remnants of drugs in the kitchen and tablets next to his bedside table labelled ‘lab use only’.

A post-mortem into Mr O’Brien’s death on January 6 found the mixture of prescribed drugs and legal highs in his system was a deadly combination and caused fatal drug toxicity.

During the hearing yesterday, a statement written by Mr O’Brien’s sister Nicola Burton, who was at the inquest with her husband, was read to the court.

Ms Burton described her brother as a private person but said his depression became increasingly worse over Christmas.

She said he had a turbulent life and their mother died when they were teenagers. He also started to feel down when he went bankrupt in 2008 and lost his house. He went to the doctors and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue but he believed it was something else. He began researching online and thought his symptoms were similar to that of Lyme disease.

He had samples sent off to be tested in Germany, which confirmed he was in the late stages of the disease.

Mrs Burton said he then became ‘obsessed’ with trying to find a cure and saved up a large amount of money to go to California to be treated, as he was angry he felt was not getting proper treatment on the NHS. He also had a line in his arm which administered his medication.

But the former lifeguard at the Oasis Leisure Centre, who also previously worked for Thames Water and lived in Florida for a number of years, was still ‘not himself’ right up until his death and was taking anti-depressants and sedatives to help him sleep. The death of his beloved dog also had an impact on him.

“He wanted to be successful and a provider for everybody,” Mrs Burton said.

Peter Hatvany, deputy coroner for Swindon and Wiltshire, ruled a conclusion of abuse of drugs.

He said: “Marc O’Brien died from a self-administered drug overdose on the 6th of January this year at his home. He had taken a various concoction of drugs.

“I can’t be satisfied he intended to kill himself and it could either be accidental or drug toxicity. It is not clear.

“We do know he was suffering from depression but there is no evidence to suggest he wanted to kill himself.”

Fellow Lyme disease sufferer Joanne Baskett paid tribute to Marc O’Brien, a friend she had known since her teens. She had been due to visit him with a belated Christmas present when she was told of his death.

“He was such a lovely guy, one of the most humble, most intelligent and most kind people I have known in my life,” she said.

“He was my fellow warrior. We used to support each other."